Twitter Sued for Banning Journalist for ‘Misgendering’ Transgender Users

February 12th, 2019 4:38 PM

Twitter wants to regulate the kind of speech that’s allowed on its platform. But there will be some backlash from those who are banned.

On February 11, Canadian feminist journalist Meghan Murphy filed a lawsuit against Twitter. Murphy had been permanently banned in November for saying that “women aren’t men tho.” In a YouTube video, Murphy explained that “Twitter has begun silencing individuals and political views they don’t want heard.”

She then explained that “because of my criticisms and questions,” she was “targeted as one of those that should be silenced.” But she then displayed several images of tweets threatening and targeting her. While these images were on screen, Murphy said, “Users who post pornography or violent threats, both things which Twitter has prohibited, remain on the site.”

Murphy had been given several suspensions based on tweets she had made asking questions about gender and sex. “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between a man and a transwoman?” she wrote in one tweet.

After her account was locked for those tweets, Murphy deleted them. But her account was locked again. In October, Twitter made it a bannable offense to “deadname,” or call transgender individuals by their original names.

In a press release, Murphy’s lawyers wrote, “According to Twitter, even questioning the idea of ‘gender identity’ qualifies as ‘hateful conduct’ -- despite the fact that the majority of the public believes that biological sex is a material reality that is not alterable through self-declaration.”

In addition, the lawyers argue that “Twitter’s roll-out of the policy was so secretive that the exact date that the new policy was added has never been confirmed, by Twitter or anyone else.”

In an interview with author Sam Harris, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey commented on Murphy’s ban, saying that it was not simply one tweet that caused her to be banned, but her overall behavior on Twitter.

Dorsey also said that Twitter “couldn’t afford to be neutral anymore.”